An attempt by U.S. President Donald Trump’s Jewish family-in-law—the Kushners—to cash in on their family’s close involvement with the presidency through the issuing of “investment visas” to Chinese people, has been exposed by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley in a formal complaint to Homeland Security Secretary General John Kelly.
According to a statement released on Senator Grassley’s official Senate web page, he called on the Homeland Security Secretary “to expedite proposed regulations targeting abuse and national security concerns in the EB-5 investor visa program, and to clarify that the department is processing EB-5 applications in a fair and transparent manner.”
His request followed the recent extension of the EB-5 program without any reforms “and a reported pitch by Kushner Companies implying that potential investors should invest soon to avoid changes in program rules.”
Senator Grassley said the EB-5 visa program—which gives out green cards to anybody who can invest at least $500,000 to finance a business in the United States—has been “riddled with well-documented fraud and national security vulnerabilities.”
The program was extended by the Trump Administration earlier this month without any reforms, despite efforts by Grassley and others “to restore integrity in the program,” his statement continued.
In his letter to General Kelly, Grassley pointed out that, given the backlog of applicants, new investors would be subject to the program’s rules at the time their visas become available, despite the comments made by representatives of Kushner Companies.
Grassley was referring to statements made by Nicole Kushner Meyer—the sister of White House adviser, and Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner—who spoke at the beginning of May at an event in Beijing, China.
As reported by CNN, Nicole Kushner Meyer was marketing a Kushner-owned property in New Jersey, and told the Chinese attendees that they could invest in the development and thereby get into the United States on an EB-5 visa.
An ad for the event, held at a Ritz-Carlton hotel, said, “Invest $500,000 and immigrate to the United States.”
The event was meant to draw investors for 1 Journal Square, a $976.4 million residential and commercial project underway in New Jersey. The company says about 15 percent of it will be funded through the EB-5 program.
The Chinese were told that they “should act quickly because possible policy changes to the EB-5 program might raise the required minimum investment.”
Nicole Kushner Meyer specifically mentioned her brother’s new position in the White House, and although she did refer to Trump by name, his photo appeared on a slide that listed the “key decision makers” on the EB-5 program.
Although the program is set up to effectively sell U.S. citizenship to the wealthy—a scandal all by itself—it is clear from the remarks that the Kushners are cashing in on their position, using insider information on possible changes to the law.
Senator Grassley said in his letter to General Kelly that he was “sure you’re aware that Ms. Meyer recently made a pitch to potential real estate investors in Beijing at an event hosted by a Chinese company working with the Kushner Company to raise funds for a luxury apartment complex in New Jersey.
“In her speech, Ms. Meyer touted the EB-5 ‘golden visa,’ which permits investors of $500,000 or more to obtain a U.S. green card, and alluded to her brother Jared Kushner’s White House position in a manner that some say was improperly suggestive,” Senator Grassley continued.
“One of Ms. Meyer’s colleagues urged attendees to ‘invest early, and you will invest under the old rules,’” he said.
“As you know, EB-5 applicants ordinarily wait at least two years for a petition to be processed and for visas to become available. Ms. Meyer’s statements, however, could seem to imply that foreign nationals who invest with the Kushner Company will receive special treatment and expedited approval.
“It is appropriate for the Department to clarify and affirm that no foreign investors will receive preferential treatment, that applications will be processed in the order in which they are received—subject to any existing backlog—and that future applications will be subject to the proposed regulations, when approved,” the Senator added.
He went on to point out that he had noted on “many occasions” that “the EB-5 program desperately needs to be reformed. Numerous sources have documented rampant corruption, fraud, and national security risks.
“For example, the FBI recently raided a California regional center that defrauded investors out of millions of dollars while facilitating dozens of fraudulently obtained green cards, including several procured for investors who are on a Chinese government list of most-wanted fugitives.”
Others had “invested” money loaned to them for a fee by the regional center to gain the visa, even though it was later shown that no construction took place at any of the proposed project locations.
“About 30 of the investors received some or all their money back—amounting to about $10 million—but concealed the refunds from U.S. officials and have continued to pursue legal permanent residence,” Senator Grassley continued.
“Among many other examples, over the past five years the Securities and Exchange Commission has pursued cases involving hundreds of millions of dollars in fraudulent investment schemes, and in 2013 ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations unit warned of serious national security and technology proliferation concerns.
“These abuses are amplified because investment levels—which have remained static since 1990—and egregious gerrymandering of Targeted Investment Areas, rob the U.S. economy of billions of dollars each year.
“The American people are relying on you to prevent fraud, promote security, and protect the homeland. DHS’s efforts in implementing new regulations to that effect are integral to strengthening program integrity and benefitting the U.S. economy.”